Exercise to strengthen bones



Why are you exercising? Ask any enthusiast why they exercise and you will likely get a ton of answers. These can range from wanting to lose weight, to building a stronger core or running a 5K faster. However, it is rare for someone to respond “to build stronger bones”.

Since the bones are out of sight – they don’t hang over your belt – they are sometimes overlooked as an exercise priority and are rarely considered until one is fractured. However, keeping our bones strong and healthy is just as important to our overall well-being and should be high on your exercise importance list. Bones help with every movement we make and maintain our height and posture.

Bones are actually complex living organs that are very sensitive to how we load them. During exercise, they can be loaded by direct impact or by muscle traction on the bone. In fact, research shows that sprinters have up to 30% more bones in their legs (direct impact of running) than sedentary people of the same age. Likewise, it was measured that elite level tennis players had up to 40% more bone density in their racquet arm (load via muscle tension on the bone) compared to their arm without a racquet.

How does this affect you? With the incidence of fractures increasing and an estimated 50 percent of Americans over 50 are expected to have low bone density by 2020, now is the time to make positive changes and build. healthy bones.

Healthy adults should make a conscious effort to participate in a variety of weight-bearing activities (walking, running, climbing stairs, playing tennis) and resistance training for at least 30 minutes, five days a week. week.

Seniors or those previously diagnosed with osteoporosis should also engage in weight bearing and resistance training at least three days a week. In addition, it is up to the elderly to include balance activities two to three days a week, initially under the supervision of a professional.

For those at risk or those concerned about their bone health, contact your health care provider for a further evaluation. For those who have already been diagnosed, certain movement patterns should be avoided. For example, avoid forward bending exercises (like sit-ups and seated rows) or exercises that involve rotating the spine, as they can increase the risk of a spinal fracture.

– Angie Ferguson is an exercise physiologist in Fort Myers. She is an American Level 2 Advanced Triathlon Coach, Ironman Certified Coach, Slowtwitch Certified Coach, American Cycling Coach and has a Specialty Certification in Sports Nutrition. For more training tips read her blog at www.triathlontrainingisfun.com or contact her at www.gearedup.biz. “

By the numbers

According to the Surgeon General’s report to the National Institute of Health;

  • Each year, about 1.5 million people suffer from a fracture due to bone disease.
  • The risk of fractures increases with age and is higher in women. About 40 percent of women over the age of 50 will fracture in the United States.
  • Osteoporosis is the most common cause of fractures. In the United States, approximately 10 million people over the age of 50 have osteoporosis. An additional 33.6 million people over the age of 50 have low bone mass or “osteopenia” and are at risk for osteoporosis.
  • As the population ages, the prevalence of osteoporosis and low bone mass is expected to increase. By 2020, one in two Americans over the age of 50 is expected to have or risk developing osteoporosis.


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